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Author: Maggadoodle | Date: 5/13/05 6:43 AM | Number: 9776
Could those retired fools give the rest of us "getting close" tells us the 5 smartest and 5 not so smart things they did as preparation for retirement. Looking baack with hindsight, what is the single most important thing to do preparing for retirement?


1. Went to college using the GI Bill and earned an MSEE degree.

2. Always made contributions to my 401(k) to the maximum matching level. Made additional contributions when I had extra money.

3. Always lived below my means. Had a mortgage and car payments, but never had any credit card or other debt. Always paid off credit cards monthly within the grace period. Waited to have children until I could afford it.

4. Stayed with the same company (Texas Instruments) for my entire career, and retired after 27 years at age 53. Took my pension as a lump sum. Took TI stock out of my 401(k) using the 'Company Stock Rule'.

5. Started a Roth IRA for my son as soon as he had enough earned income (1998) and invested it in an S&P 500 Index Fund. Of course, he spends all of his earned income (he is in the Army 3rd ID in Iraq), so I am still gifting him enough to max out his Roth each year, and it is still all going into the S&P 500 Fund. I'm pretty sure he will appreciate that someday.

Not so smart:

1. Had brokerage account with Merrill Lynch during the 70's. Invested in Federal Securities Trust (front loaded bond mutual fund) for 10 years. Bought several stocks on Merrill Lynch advice. All turned out to be very poor investments. Merrill Lynch made out just fine, though.

2. Put the wrong account number on the check for a qualified distribution I received from my 401(k) administrator, and the money was put into my regular account instead of my IRA. I finally reversed that and got the money into the IRA, but I think I aged 10 years in the six months that it took.

3. Bought into an oil lease partnership in the 80's; a rock solid deal with no chance of losing anything. I lost my entire $7000! Never invest in 'get rich quick schemes'.

4. Bought a car with a 300 hp engine.

5. Worked 60 hour weeks for much of my career, and being salaried, it didn't add anything to my paycheck. Don't make your job your life!!

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